Companies partner on early lung cancer detection blood test

May 27, 2022 - 3 minutes

U.S. company CorePath Laboratories is partnering with U.K. diagnostics firm Cizzle Biotechnology on an early-stage lung cancer test for the U.S.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., making up almost 25% of all cancer deaths. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for lung cancer in the U.S. for 2022 are about 236,740 new cases (117,910 in men and 118,830 in women) and approximately 130,180 deaths (68,820 in men and 61,360 in women) every year.

Currently, there are no simple, specific blood tests for the early detection of lung cancer, which is especially important as targeted interventions can improve access to cancer care and save lives. 

In a 2018 paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Cheung et al. estimated about 8 million Americans qualify as high risk for lung cancer and are recommended to receive annual screening with low-dose CT scans. The paper states if half of these high-risk people were screened, more than 12,000 lung cancer deaths could be prevented.

Texas-headquartered CorePath provides a range of oncology pathology services to healthcare providers in the U.S. and internationally.  

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Its CEO and medical director, Dr Aamir Ehsan, said: “As a board-certified hematopathologist and molecular geneticist; diagnosing cancer is hurting especially when cancer has already metastasized in patients. While efforts are under way to find actional genetic mutations to target treatment and improve survival; early detection and intervention are key to patients’ long-term survival and cure.”

Ehsan said the agreement with Cizzle Biotechnology is an opportunity to provide early and cost-effective lung cancer detection via a simple and quick blood test, “which will result in significant cost savings downstream, avoiding expensive treatment, hospital admissions and ultimately saving lives.”

Allan Syms, executive chairman of Cizzle Biotechnology, added that, for many, detection of lung cancer only happens when it has become symptomatic and is therefore more advanced, meaning five-year survival rates are poor. 

“The company’s CIZ1B biomarker to detect early-stage lung cancer could represent a major breakthrough and we now have the opportunity to bring the benefits of this test to such an important market,” Syms said. “We are delighted to be partnering with CorePath Laboratories who bring the expert knowledge and market reach to help develop our biomarker into a certified test that can be made available to patients and healthcare providers throughout the U.S.”

Cizzle Biotechnology, a spin-out from the University of York in the U.K., is developing this early detection blood test based on the ability to detect the stable plasma biomarker CIZ1B, which is a variant of CIZ1. CIZ1 is a naturally-occurring cell nuclear protein involved in DNA replication, and the targeted CIZ1B variant is highly correlated with early-stage lung cancer.

Cover image via CorePath

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